Hitler Comes to Power II

Lead: The voters who gave Hitler his chance at power were a strange mix.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1930 Hitler was determined to lead Germany, but having failed in one illegal attempt in 1924, the so-called Beer Hall Putsch, he wanted to be elected to office. The Great Depression offered him the chance. Votes for the Nazis soared as unemployment and social frustration made very appealing Hitler’s message, a neurotic mixture of militant socialism, national pride, and half-baked socio-babble.

 

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Hitler Comes to Power I

Lead: In 1933 one of the most sophisticated, religious, cosmopolitan nations on earth selected as its leader one of history’s great thugs.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: How Germany could have allowed itself to become mesmerized by Adolf Hitler is a quandary. After World War I, a draconian peace settlement had been forced on Germany. Hitler played upon feelings of national humiliation. There was a loose, undefined conviction that the greatness of Germany was being denied by an international conspiracy of Communists, Jews, and others who were preventing the Reich from taking its legitimate place in the Sun. Hitler hammered away at these shadowy enemies of national splendor.

 

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Wannsee Conference III

Lead: During World War II the Nazi extermination of Jews and other genetically undesirable groups was reduced to banal bureaucratic efficiency.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the summer and early fall of 1941, nearly everywhere German Armies were triumphant. The plains of Russia passed quickly under the tracks of German tanks pressing ever-eastward into the Soviet heartland. In this euphoric period of Nazi hubris when all the world seem to bow in deference to their ambitions, the decision was made to move in a more systematic way to accomplish one of Hitler’s great desires, the total annihilation of the Jewish race and all other groups considered by the Nazis to be genetically inferior.

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Wannsee Conference II

Lead: In January 1942, a group of high-ranking Nazi bureaucrats met in the Berlin suburb of Grosse-Wannsee. Their host was Reinhard Heydrich, affectionately known as der henker, the hangman.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The men were in Wannsee to plan the implementation of one of Adolf Hitler’s great desires: the continent-wide extermination of the Jewish race and all other groups he felt were genetically subhuman. Heydrich’s career as a German Naval Officer had been cut short in 1931 after an aborted flirtation with his civilian superior’s daughter, and he joined the Nazi SS. His talents soon attracted the attention of Heinrich Himmler, and as a result Heydrich’s rise to power was swift and decisive. After the Nazis came to power he helped Himmler consolidate party control over national police forces. By 1939 Heydrich was in charge of the Reich Central Security Office in charge of all police functions including the secret police, the Gestapo.

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Wannsee Conference I

Lead: On January 20, 1942, fourteen high-ranking Nazi officials gathered for a brief afternoon meeting in the Berlin suburb of Grossen-Wannsee. They met to organize the Holocaust.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Adolf Hitler’s leadership style was unique. He would give general orders to his associates and then set them against one another in a bizarre bureaucratic survival of the fittest. Each of his henchmen would compete to demonstrate within his sphere of authority just how vigorous was his support for the Führer’s vision. In no other endeavor was this more clearly demonstrated than in the final solution to Judenfrage, the “Jewish question.

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The Enigma Machine

Lead: When your enemy is stronger and is about to destroy you, the most important thing you need is the information about how he is about to do it.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: During the early years of World War II, Germany and Japanese forces seemed everywhere to be victorious. It quickly became clear that Britain and France and after them, the United States had to break the enemies’ code. 

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Crash of the Hindenburg III

Lead: Expanded to huge dimensions and filled with highly flammable hydrogen gas, German airships became an important element of Hitler’s propaganda machine.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 one of the most important champions of the German Airship was Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. The Fuhrer himself was not impressed and refused to set foot in a dirigible, feeling them a creation contrary to nature. Without Goebbel’s enthusiasm the Zeppelin program would probably have died since the construction of a large airship was as costly as that of a heavy battleship.

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Crash of the Hindenburg II

Lead: Used as bombers during World War I, giant German lighter-than-air ships called Zeppelins were turned to commercial uses in the 1920s and 1930s.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: If one wanted to travel between continents in the early 1900s, there was one choice. You had to go by ship. While the dream of flight had been realized first by balloons and then by the Wright Brothers’ airplane, aircraft engines were not strong, efficient, or safe enough to lift cargo and passengers over long distances. For just over two short decades from World War I to the eve of World War II, the dirigible seemed to be the solution to fast intercontinental travel.

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